Nov. 29, 2016–The Georgia Institute of Technology has been awarded a $17.3 million cyber security research contract to help establish new science around the ability to quickly, objectively and positively identify the virtual actors responsible for cyberattacks, a technique known as “attribution.”

While the tools and techniques to be developed during the four-and-a-half year effort won’t point directly to the individuals responsible, the initiative will provide proof of involvement by specific groups, identifiable by their methods of attack, consistent errors and other unique characteristics. Such attribution could support potential sanctions and policy decisions – and discourage attacks by providing transparency for activities that are normally hidden.

The research, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense, will be led by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, in collaboration with other academic institutions and companies. The project is expected to create an attribution framework dubbed Rhamnousia – in Greek mythology, the goddess of Rhamnous and the spirit of divine retribution.